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The Free Tourist Shuttle Bus - a cost effective way of getting round Melbourne

A free tourist shuttle bus service is generously provided by the powers-that-be in Melbourne to enable visitors to get around the city without it costing them anything.

Because it is free, you can imagine that it's not used exclusively by tourists. As you can hop on and off it as many times as you want, I imagine many native Melburnians take advantage of it, too.


Melbourne's free tourist shuttle bus


These distinctive red vehicles run every half hour, from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The entire route takes around 90 minutes and there are thirteen stops in total.

Here are details of each stop the tourist shuttle bus makes:

1. The Arts Precinct.

  • This area includes the Arts Centre, with its iconic tall spire, the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art and the Malthouse Theatre.

2. Federation Square.

  • Melbourne's famous meeting place, containing the Melbourne Visitors' Centre, with Flinders Street Station just across the street.

3. The Sports Precinct.

  • This area contains the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Rod Laver Stadium and the National Sports Museum

4. Theatre District and Chinatown.

  • Theatres such as Her Majesty's, Princess and Comedy Theatre all feature amazing architecture, plus the exotic area of Chinatown, packed with shops and restaurants.

5. Melbourne Museum.

  • As well as this fascinating museum, you're quite near Carlton Gardens and it's only a short walk to Old Melbourne Gaol.

6. Lygon Street.

  • This is the centre of Melbourne's Italian community and, as such, is packed with Italian restaurants.

7. University of Melbourne.

  • As well as its role as a university, this magnificent building also contains museums and galleries.

8. Victoria Market.

  • Quite a popular tourist attraction, this huge, sprawling market sells all manner of things. Around 200,000 people visit it every week.

9. Docklands.

  • Within this area, you'll find Harbour Town, with many shopping opportunities and New Quay Promenade, for restaurants and bars.

10. Victoria Harbour.

  • A great place for dining and relaxing in the parks. It also features the Etihad Stadium.

11. William Street

12. Southbank.

  • As well as the chic area of Southbank itself, you're not far from the Crown Entertainment Complex and the Eureka Building, housing the Skydeck 88 observation deck.

13. Royal Botanical Gardens.

  • This beautiful area of landscaped gardens is also famous for the Shrine of Remembrance, situated at its heart.




Alison and I, plus her Dad, took the tourist shuttle bus to get to Victoria Market. (Needless to say, it was Alison's idea, the market.) We waited at the Federation Square stop and, eventually one turned up. As the bus stopped, many people disembarked and we got on, along with all the other people that were waiting.

It was at this point I realised just how "popular" this service was. There was still a lot of passengers on the bus and we ended up being packed in like sardines. I'm sure there must be some safety issue here, but that's the way it is. Fortunately, a polite young man offered his seat to Alison's Dad, which was a good thing, as he's getting on in years a bit.

Alison and I had to stand, however and, with being constantly thrown from side to side as the bus turned corners, it was an extremely uncomfortable experience.

We caught the tourist shuttle bus back from the market and, thankfully, we all got seats!

So, if you decide to use this service, based on my experience, don't expect the most comfortable of rides. 



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